Rolls-Royce has opened a new state-of-the-art ‘LiftWorks’ facility in Bristol to manufacture LiftSystem vertical lift technology for F-35 stealth fighter jets.
The ‘LiftSystem’ provides F-35 fighter jets with a fan propulsion system that allows them to take off over short distances, hover, swivel mid-air and land vertically.
It is vital to the jets being able to operate from aircraft carriers, and comes ahead of the stealth jets completing their historic first trials off the flight deck of Britain’s largest ever warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The site will support more than 100 jobs in the area after more than £20 million was injected into transforming the former Defence Manufacturing building into an advanced facility dedicated to developing the unique technology.
The LiftSystem, which has a thrust strong enough to lift 17 Mini cars and a clutch that provides enough torque to turn the London Eye, was designed and developed by teams of engineers at Rolls Royce engineers in Bristol and Indianapolis.
The Bristol site is not only making the LiftFan for UK jets, but for all F-35B jets on order across the world. Production at the site has been building up since 2009, with the official opening now marking the fact that the facility is heading towards peak manufacturing levels.
British companies are building 15% by value of all 3,000 F-35s planned for production. It is projected that around £35 billion will be contributed to the UK economy through the programme, with around 25,000 British jobs also being supported.